Voters narrowly reject Proposition 53 and future votes on big infrastructure projects

[Source: The Log Angeles Times] Proposition 53, an effort that sought to force statewide votes to fund a major water project and the future of high-speed rail, failed in a late count of ballots Tuesday.

An Associated Press tally of votes found the ballot measure, which had been trailing since election night, narrowly lost.

Proposition 53 would have required state revenue bonds, borrowing that’s generally paid back by users of a large public works project, of $2 billion or larger to be approved by voters statewide. Revenue bonds could be an integral part of the future $17-billion effort to build twin underground water tunnels through the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta region. They could also be required to complete the controversial high-speed rail project from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Throughout California history, only bonds re-paid by taxpayers through the state budget — general obligation bonds — have been subject to approval through a ballot measure.

Proposition 53’s author, Stockton agribusiness owner Dean Cortopassi, insisted that his proposal was a way to force additional transparency about the cost of long-term government debt. He single-handedly bankrolled the ballot measure, but it spent much of the campaign season under the radar on a ballot featuring 17 propositions.

Gov. Jerry Brown launched a flurry of last-minute campaign events to help defeat the proposition, an effort backed by both business and labor groups that believed the new law would create an impediment to major projects across the state.

Source: The Log Angeles Times
November 22, 2016